The Stags overcame the Dockers for the first time in ten years and, in doing so, published their intentions to make an assault on the League title this season. With new boys Marvin Walker and Tariq Nabil ruling midfield and Tom McGowan and Carlos Brown making impressive debuts at the back, Waltham Forest took total charge of the first half and much of the second half.
Forest went on the attack straight from the whistle and, within a minute had won a corner which had the Tilbury defence in disarray as the cross came in. The ball fell to Guei on the penalty spot but he shot just wide.
Walker and Nabil began to take control of the midfield with John Hurlock keeping everything tight. On 8 minutes Walker won the ball midway in the Tilbury half and made a neat through ball to Dewayne Clarke who was able to shrug of the centre half Marvin Neufville on the edge of the six yard box, round the ‘keeper and slot home from an acute angle.
It was not long before Clarke was in action again creating the run to draw defenders away from Joe Nartey on the edge of the area. Nartey shot but Wilson was able to get a leg to the ball to prevent a certain goal.
Tilbury were spurred into action and began to press forward but the Forest defence was able to break most of the play down in their own midfield area rather than, as was the case last season, on the edge of the penalty area and deeper.
The period of Tilbury pressure was eventually rewarded when they won a dubious free kick on the edge of the Stags’ penalty area. King was able to palm Paul Cobb’s cross onto the crossbar but Colin Wall was on hand and unmarked to head the ball home.
Joe Nartey could have returned the lead to the Stags on 29 minutes when he latched on to another through ball from Walker which sprung the offside trap. Nartey took the ball to the right of ‘keeper Paul Wood and shot. Wood could only put the ball back into the path of Nartey but his second attempt was well saved by Wood.
Some more pressure from Tilbury resulting in one easy and one good save from King looked like pointing the way to the end of the half but then Nabil popped up to get his first goal for the club in his first game.
Hurlock won the ball about 40 yards out and made a short pass to Nabil who took a couple of yards then slammed the ball into the net from 35 yards. On the balance of play, the Stags were well worth the half time lead but the second half had a rather different complexion.
The half started with fifteen minutes of constant pressure from Forest who could really have sown the game up by scoring any of the seven or eight chances that fell to them during that period. However luck and good defending kept Forest from increasing their lead.
Tilbury weathered the storm and began to push Forest back into their own half of the field. As the heat took its toll chances fell to Tilbury and they soon had the ball in the back of the net but Cobb was judged to be offside.
More chances came and went, most of them were mid to long range shots any one of which may have resulted in a goal if the Tilbury strike force had an idea of where the target actually was.
The game ended with both sides looking for a goal and both sides keen to play football. A clean and entertaining game with an excellent result for Hakan Hayrettin’s men.